TV3 investigation proves how easy it is for anyone to pose as licensed taxi driver
Members of the public are being urged to ensure the taxis they use are properly licensed after a TV3 News investigation has revealed how easy it is for anyone to pose as a cab driver.
In the news report, due to air on Monday, Southern Correspondent for TV3, Paul Byrne, was able to buy a roof top taxi sign for €200 enabling a garage owner to drive around Cork and even park up at a taxi rank.
As well as placing licenced taxi drivers' livelihood at risk, the illicit cab drivers could also put prospective passengers' lives in danger.
This is the second investigation in 12 months which the Allied Cork Taxi Group has described as “shocking”. The first investigation, which was also carried out by TV3’s Paul Byrne, resulted in the National Transport Authority saying it would review procedures.Members of Allied Cork Taxi Group say it demonstrates how easy it is for a criminal to operate such a scheme.
The report has called for tighter control by the taxi regulator. Cab owners in the city say a complete overhaul of the taxi industry is needed before some innocent member of the public is defrauded or seriously injured.
In response to the investigation, the department of Transport told TV3 News that “the regulation of the taxi industry, including issues relating to taxi signage, is a matter for the regulator, the National Transport Authority”.In a statement, the National Transport Authority, said: “The design of the currently used taxi roof signs in Ireland dates back many years. Because of this, the NTA does not own the design of the sign and cannot legally control or prevent sign manufacturers from making a taxi sign”.
However, the NTA pointed out the legal implications of doing so: “It is an offence to operate a vehicle with a sign saying “taxi” or “tacsaí” unless the vehicle is licensed as a taxi. A person found guilty of that offence can be fined up to €5,000.”
The story will be covered tomorrow on TV3’s News at 12.30, The 5.30 News and News at 8.